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Theft rhetoric, Compulsory licenses, Public health, Profits, Patent rights, Pharmaceutical companies, Judeo-Christian moral law, Drug development


This Article contemplates the validity of theft rhetoric in relation to the right of countries to grant compulsory licenses from an unconventional perspective; that of biblical teachings on what it means to steal.

Part I describes the use of theft rhetoric in relation to IP infringement broadly and drug-patent compulsory licenses in particular.

Part II challenges the contention, suggested by theft rhetoric, that compulsory licenses are morally wrong as a form of stealing, by considering the meaning of theft in the context of its Judeo-Christian origins.

Part III considers the cogency of the accusation that the issuance of compulsory licenses in developing countries destroys pharmaceutical-company innovation incentives.

Part IV concludes that expanding, as the Bible does, the definition of theft to include the possibility that a property owner may be stealing from the poor, can help us to properly evaluate the morality of drug-patent compulsory licenses.

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Minnesota Law Review


© 2018 Margo A. Bagley.